Despite losing to Apple Valley on Saturday, the Blue Valley Northwest boys basketball team retained its spot atop the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association rankings in Kansas Class 6A.
By KATHLEEN GIER
The Kansas City Star
Blue Valley Northwest, the 6A defending state champion, traveled to Minnesota last week to take on top-ranked Apple Valley in the Timberwolves shootout. The Huskies fell 72-59, suffering their first loss of the season. Next up, Blue Valley Northwest, 2-1, will face Blue Valley on Friday at home.
The Huskies, who were undefeated last season on their way to the state title, have four starters who have already committed to continue playing basketball in college, led by senior guard Clayton Custer, who is headed to Iowa State. He is joined by Ben Richardson (Loyola), Vince Fritz (Sacred Heart) and David Salach (Washburn).
Behind Blue Valley Northwest, defending 5A state champion Shawnee Mission South holds the second place spot and Olathe East is ranked third. Blue Valley North comes in at eighth and Blue Valley West rounds out the Top 10.
St. Thomas Aquinas, meanwhile, the Kansas Class 5A girls defending basketball state champion, held on to its No. 1 ranking in this week’s KBCA poll.
Aquinas routed Blue Valley West 76-11 in its first game and defeated Blue Valley North 55-41 in its second. The Saints' only loss of the young season came at the hands of Columbia Rock Bridge in the Hy-Vee Shootout. The Rock Bridge team featured four Division 1 commits and six players who were 6 feet 1 or taller. Aquinas bounced back with a 66-38 victory against Olathe Northwest to start the new year.
Aquinas is led by senior guard Kendra Weledji, the returning Eastern Kansas League MVP, who will play college ball at Princeton next season.
Leavenworth and Blue Valley Southwest also landed in the Top 10 in fourth and sixth places, respectively.
Hy-Vee Shootout games rescheduled
The final two games of the Hy-Vee Shootout, which were postponed because of impending weather on Dec. 21, have been rescheduled for Saturday.
Lee’s Summit West and Blue Valley Northwest will collide at 6 p.m., and Blue Springs South and Shawnee Mission South will play at 7:30 p.m. at Avila University. The games will be shown live on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.
One other game from the Dec.21 evening session was Olathe East against Rockhurst. The two teams played last Friday, and Olathe East Hawks defeated the Hawklets 74-52 at home. Kearney and McPherson have yet to reschedule.
Raiders qualify two for state
After only four meets, defending 5-1A swimming and diving defending state champion Shawnee Mission South has two divers qualified for the upcoming state competition.
Juniors Jackson Conrad and Ali Arab finished first and second, respectively at the Lawrence Free State Invitational on Dec. 4 to lead the Raiders to a second place finish overall.